The next question I am asked is "What do you do now that you are retired?" This one always stumps me. I feel like they want to hear something big like I went on a special trip to somewhere far away or exotic. Or that I have finished writing my novel (Lord, help me to be able to say that sometime soon!) Or that I cleaned out my basement and attic. Or that I took up a hobby and started selling or giving away handmade items. Or that I needed to get a part time job to be happy or for money. Or I volunteer somewhere.
The thing is, I can't name any big thing and for a moment I feel like a retirement failure. But retirement is a different thing to different people. I know some who hate it. They need structure in their lives and are floundering without it. Not us.
Still, I feel the need to come up with an answer but I stumble over the words. They don't want to hear that I get up when I want, pretty much do what I want and sometimes it's constructive and sometimes it's lazy. Some would think that is a boring answer and I feel the need to impress them with something. There are those, though, who would be jealous with that answer.
What we do are the little things. Here is a sample of our last fifteen days. We go to breakfast every Sunday with my Dad followed by church. We also went to a book sale that Sunday. The next three days we went on our first senior trip for three days to the 1,000 Islands. Later that week we did our marathon day at the Big E. The next day we made appearances at the Apple Fest in Granby and Sam Collins Day in Canton. The next day after setting up the coffee and refreshments for church and going to church, we went to New Hartford Days. The next day we went to see a dear little friend play soccer and afterwards went to a library to see an Edgar Allen Poe impersonator, who was terrific.
On Tuesdays we usually go to a senior lunch and this Tuesday we did that and in the evening went to a birthday dinner celebration. Wednesday afternoon had us seeing one grandson play soccer for a bit and another doing Jujitsu. There were the boring things like dentist and grocery shopping (with time to plan and use many coupons matching up sales). There are the day to day taking care of bills and minimal housework and meal planning. I tried two new recipes in this time period.
Then as Saturday rolled around we had 3 more soccer games to watch followed by another birthday celebration. Sunday we partook in the usual breakfast and church followed by another book sale. Relocating books is a hobby of ours and in this short time period we acquired from various sources over 100 books and have re-located half of them. We are working on the rest.
After grabbing a quick lunch at home, we took my father to a musical play in Torrington that we all thoroughly enjoyed. In the evening I spent over an hour on a date with the moon taking pictures as the sun cast our shadow upon it turning it orange. I could stay up late because I could get up whenever I wanted in the morning.
Besides this, George does Yoga a couple of times a week and goes for regular walks. He has been working on his class reunion and sent out over sixty invitations this week. He reads a lot. I read but not nearly as much. He loves TV and I love the internet. I just finished re-writing a 5,000 word story that I had him edit and now am going to submit to a publication and then forget about it because they won't let me know until January.
That was the last fifteen days. This week we both have dentist appointments and he has two doctor appointments, one I have to drive him to New Haven over an hour away.
I know there are families with children who do a lot too. This would seem like a break without working full time to them. but for us retired folks, this is busy and just enough.
So, what should I say to people when they ask, "What do you do in retirement?" All I can think of is to say, "stuff". I don't have to live up to their retirement expectations. Maybe I should say, "whatever I want" and what I want is just to be happy and I am.